|Type of business||LLC|
Type of site
|Available in||English, multilingual subtitles, transcript|
|Founded||February 23, 1984|
Harry Marks |
Richard Saul Wurman
|Key people||Chris Anderson, Kelly Stoetzel|
TED Conferences LLC (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a media organization that posts talks online for free distribution under the slogan "ideas worth spreading." TED was founded in February 1984 as a conference which has been held annually since 1990. TED's early emphasis was on technology and design, consistent with its Silicon Valley origins, but it has since broadened its repertoire to include talks on many scientific, cultural, and academic topics.
The main TED conference is held annually in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Prior to 2014, the conference was held in Long Beach, California, United States. TED events are also held throughout North America and in Europe and Asia, offering live streaming of the talks. They address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture, often through storytelling. The speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Past speakers include Bill Clinton, Sean M. Carroll, Elon Musk, Ray Dalio, Cédric Villani, Stephen Hawking, Jane Goodall, Al Gore, Temple Grandin, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Billy Graham, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, Dolph Lundgren, Bono, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners. TED's current curator is the British former computer journalist and magazine publisher Chris Anderson.
Since June 2006, TED Talks have been offered for free viewing online, under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives Creative Commons license, through TED.com. As of January 2018, over 2,600 TED Talks are freely available on the website. In June 2011, TED Talks' combined viewing figure stood at more than 500 million, and by November 2012, TED Talks had been watched over one billion times worldwide. TED Talks given by academics tend to be watched more online while art and design videos tend to be watched less than average.
1984-99: Founding and early years
TED was conceived in 1984 by architect and graphic designer Richard Saul Wurman, who observed a convergence of the fields of technology, entertainment, and design (that is, "TED"). The first conference, organized by Harry Marks and Wurman in the same year, featured demos of the compact disc, co-developed by Philips and Sony and one of the first demonstrations of the Apple Macintosh computer. Presentations were given by famous mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot and influential members of the digerati community, like Nicholas Negroponte and Stewart Brand. The event was financially unsuccessful; it took six years before the second conference was organized.
From 1990 onward, a growing community of "TEDsters" gathered annually at the event in California State University Monterey Bay, until 2009, when it was relocated to Long Beach, California due to a substantial increase in attendees. Initially, the speakers had been drawn from the fields of expertise behind the acronym TED, but during the nineties, the roster of presenters broadened to include scientists, philosophers, musicians, religious leaders, philanthropists, and many others.
2000-16: Recent growth
In 2000, Wurman, looking for a successor at age 65, met with new-media entrepreneur and TED enthusiast Chris Anderson to discuss future happenings. Anderson's UK media company Future bought TED. In November 2001, Anderson's non-profit The Sapling Foundation (motto: "fostering the spread of great ideas.") acquired TED from Future for £6m. In February 2002, Anderson gave a TED Talk in which he explained his vision of the conference and his future role of curator. Wurman left after the 2002 conference.
In 2006, attendance cost was $4,400 per person and was by invitation only. The membership model was shifted in January 2007 to an annual membership fee of $6,000, which includes attendance of the conference, club mailings, networking tools, and conference DVDs. The 2018 conference was $10,000 per attendee.
In 2014, the conference was relocated to Vancouver.
TED is currently funded by a combination of various revenue streams, including conference attendance fees, corporate sponsorships, foundation support, licensing fees, and book sales. Corporate sponsorships are diverse, provided by companies such as Google, GE, AOL, Goldman Sachs, and The Coca-Cola Company, among others. Sponsors do not participate in the creative direction of the event, nor are they allowed to present on the main stage, in the interests of independence.
The TED Prize was introduced in 2005. Until 2010, it annually granted three individuals $100,000 and a "wish to change the world". Each winner unveils their wish at the main annual conference. Since 2010, in a changed selection process, a single winner is chosen to ensure that TED can maximize its efforts in achieving the winner's wish. In 2012, the prize was not awarded to an individual, but to a concept connected to the current global phenomenon of increasing urbanization. In 2013, the prize amount was increased to $1 million. TED Prize winners in previous years:
TED Conference commissioned New York artist Tom Shannon to create a prize sculpture to be given to all TED Prize winners. The sculpture consists of an eight-inch (20 cm) diameter aluminum sphere magnetically levitated above a walnut disc.
In 2005, Chris Anderson hired June Cohen as Director of TED Media. In June 2006, after Cohen's idea of a TV show based on TED lectures was rejected by several networks, a selection of talks that had received the highest audience ratings was posted on the websites of TED, YouTube, and iTunes, under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0. Initially, only a handful of talks were posted, to test if there was an audience for them. In January of the next year, the number of TED Talks on the site had grown to 44, and they had been viewed more than three million times. On the basis of that success, the organization pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into its video production operations and into the development of a website to showcase about 100 of the talks.
In April 2007, the new TED.com was launched, developed by design firm Method. In subsequent years, the website has won many prizes, among which seven Webby Awards, iTunes' "Best Podcast of the Year" (2006-2010), the Communication Arts Interactive Award for "Information Design" in 2007, the OMMA Award for "video sharing" in 2008, the Web Visionary Award for "technical achievement" in 2008, The One Show Interactive Bronze Award in 2008, the AIGA Annual Design Competition (2009), and a Peabody Award in 2012.
As of January 2018, over 2600 TED talks had been posted. Every week 5-7 new talks are published. In January 2009, the then number of videos had been viewed 50 million times. In June 2011, the number of views totaled 500 million, and on November 13, 2012, TED reached its billionth video view. Chris Anderson in an interview in March 2012:
It used to be 800 people getting together once a year; now it's about a million people a day watching TED Talks online. When we first put up a few of the talks as an experiment, we got such impassioned responses that we decided to flip the organization on its head and think of ourselves not so much as a conference but as "ideas worth spreading," building a big website around it. The conference is still the engine, but the website is the amplifier that takes the ideas to the world.
In March 2012, Netflix announced a deal to stream an initial series of 16 two-hour shows, consisting of TED Talks covering similar subjects, from multiple speakers. The content was made available to subscribers in the US, Canada, Latin America, the UK, and Ireland. Hosted by Jami Floyd, TED Talks NYC debuted on NYC Life on March 21, 2012.
Related projects and events
|April 15–19, 2019||TED 2019||Bigger than us||Vancouver, BC|
|November 28–30, 2018||TEDWomen 2018||Showing up||Palm Springs, CA|
|November 14–16, 2018||TEDMED 2018||Chaos+Clarity||Palm Springs, CA|
|April 10–14, 2018||TED 2018||The Age of Amazement||Vancouver, BC|
|November 1–3, 2017||TEDWomen 2017||Bridges||New Orleans, LA|
|August 27–30, 2017||TEDGlobal 2017||Builders. Truth-tellers. Catalysts.||Arusha, Tanzania|
|April 24-28-2017||TED 2017||The Future You||Vancouver, BC|
|November 14, 2016||TEDYouth 2016||Made in the Future||Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY|
|October 26–28, 2016||TEDWomen 2016||It's about time.||San Francisco, CA|
|June 26–30, 2016||TEDSummit 2016||Aim higher. Together.||Banff, AB|
|February 15–19, 2016||TED 2016||Dream||Vancouver, BC|
|November 14, 2015||TEDYouth 2015||Made in the Future||Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY|
|November 1–6, 2015||TED Talks Live||Six nights of talks on Broadway||Town Hall Theatre, NYC, NY|
|May 27–29, 2015||TEDWomen 2015||Momentum||Monterey, CA|
|March 16–20, 2015||TED 2015||Truth and Dare||Vancouver, BC|
|March 16–20, 2015||TEDActive 2015||Truth and Dare||Whistler, BC|
|November 15, 2014||TEDYouth 2014||Worlds Imagined||Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY|
|October 6–10, 2014||TEDGlobal 2014||South!||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
In 2005, under Anderson's supervision, a more internationally oriented sister conference was added, under the name TEDGlobal. It was held, in chronological order: in Oxford, UK (2005), in Arusha, Tanzania (2007, titled TEDAfrica), in Oxford again (2009 and 2010), and in Edinburgh, UK (2011, 2012, and 2013). In 2014, it was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Additionally, there was TED India, in Mysore (2009) and TEDGlobal London in London (2015). TEDGlobal 2017 was held again in Arusha, Tanzania and it was curated and hosted by Emeka Okafor.
TED's European director (and curator of TEDGlobal) is Swiss-born Bruno Giussani.
TED Translators (formerly The Open Translation Project (OTP))
TED Translators started as TED Open Translation Project in May 2009 and aims to "[reach] out to the 4.5 billion people on the planet who don't speak English", according to TED Curator Chris Anderson. The OTP utilizes crowd-based subtitling platforms to translate the text of TED and TED-Ed videos, as well as to caption and translate videos created in the TEDx program (with its technology partner dotSUB until May 2012, and then with open source translation tool Amara). At the time of the launch, 300 translations had been done by 200 volunteer transcribers in 40 languages. In May 2015, over 70,000 sets of subtitles in 107 languages had been completed by (an all-time total of) 38,173 volunteer translators.
The project contributed to a significant increase in international visitors to TED's website, with traffic from outside the US growing 350 percent, 600 percent growth in Asia, and more than 1000 percent in South America.
TEDx are independent TED-like events, which can be organized by anyone who obtains a free license from TED, agreeing to follow certain principles. TEDx events are non-profit but may use an admission fee or commercial sponsorship to cover costs. Similarly, speakers are not paid. They must also relinquish the copyrights to their materials, which TED may edit and distribute under a Creative Commons license.
A TEDx event is organized by volunteers from the local community, and just like TED events, it lacks any commercial, religious, or political agenda. Its goal is to spark conversation, connection, and community.
As of January 2014, the TEDxTalks library contained some 30,000 films and presentations from over 130 countries. As of October 2017, the TEDx archive surpassed 100,000 talks. In March 2013, eight TEDx events were organised every day; raised up from five in June 2012, the previous year, in 133 countries. TEDx presentations also include live performances, which are catalogued in the TEDx Music Project. In 2011, TED began a program called "TEDx in a Box" that allows people in developing countries to hold TEDx events. TEDx also expanded to include TEDxYouth events, TEDx corporate events, and TEDxWomen. TEDxYouth events are independent programs set up for students roughly between 7–12 grades. These events usually have people closer to the age of the students and sometimes show TED Talks. According to TEDxSanta Cruz, "as of 2015, over 1,500 [TEDx events] have been scheduled all over the world". TEDx events evolved over a period of time and events like TEDxBeaconStreet created TEDx Adventures for participants where participants sign up for free, hands-on experiences in their local communities, led by an expert.
TED Fellows were introduced in 2007, during the first TEDAfrica conference in Arusha, Tanzania, where 100 young people were selected from across the continent. Two years later, during TEDIndia, 99 Fellows were recruited, mainly from South Asia. In 2009, the Fellows program was initiated in its present form. For every TED or TEDGlobal conference, 20 Fellows are selected; a total of 40 new Fellows a year. Each year, 20 past Fellows are chosen to participate in the two-year Senior Fellows program (in which they will attend four more conferences).
Acceptance as a Fellow is not based on academic credentials, but mainly on past and current actions, and plans for the future. Besides attending a conference free of charge, each Fellow takes part in a special program with mentoring by experts in the field of spreading ideas, and he or she can give a short talk on the "TED Fellows" stage. Some of these talks are subsequently published on TED.com. Senior Fellows have additional benefits and responsibilities.
TED-Ed is a category of TED talks which are short animated lessons aimed at children. It creates explanatory animation videos on various concepts. TED-Ed lessons are created in collaboration with educators and animators. Current advisers for Ted-Ed lessons include Aaron Sams, Jackie Bezos, John Hunter, Jonathan Bergmann, Sir Ken Robinson, Melinda French Gates, and Salman Khan.
TEDMED is an annual conference concerned with health and medicine. It is an independent event operating under license from the nonprofit TED conference.
TEDMED was founded in 1998 by TED's founder Ricky Wurman. After years of inactivity, in 2008 Wurman sold TEDMED to entrepreneur Marc Hodosh, who recreated and relaunched it. The first event under Hodosh’s ownership was held in San Diego in October 2009. In January 2010, TED.com began including videos of TEDMED talks on the TED website.
In 2011, Jay Walker and a group of executives and investors purchased TEDMED from Hodosh for $16 million with future additional payments of as much as $9 million. The conference was then moved to Washington, DC.
- TED Books — These are original books from TED. The initiative began in January 2011 as an ebook series and re-launched in September 2014 with its first book in print.
- TedEd Clubs — An education based initiative to get young people (ages 8 to 18) to share their ideas with peers and others by giving a TED-like presentation on a topic. TED provides curricula and limited support for the Clubs free of charge.
- TEDWomen — A series of conferences focused on women-oriented themes, including gender issues and reproductive health.
- TED Salon — Smaller evening-length events with speakers and performers.
- TED Radio Hour — A radio podcast program hosted by Guy Raz and co-produced with NPR. Each episode uses multiple TED Talks to examine a common theme.
Frank Swain, a deaf journalist, refused to participate in a TEDx event without getting paid. He said that it is unacceptable that TED, which is a non-profit organization, charges attendees $6,000 but cannot afford to pay anything to their speakers.
While it is true that speakers at the independently-organized TEDx talks may not be paid, speakers at the official, yearly TED Conference are compensated for their talks.
Sarah Lacy of BusinessWeek and TechCrunch wrote in 2010 that TED attendees complained of elitism from a "hierarchy of parties throughout the LA-area with strict lists and security" after the sessions. She gave TED credit for making talks free online or live streamed.
TED Talk content
Disagreements have also occurred between TED speakers and organizers. In her 2010 TED Talk, comedian Sarah Silverman referred to adopting a "retarded" child. TED organizer Chris Anderson objected via his Twitter account, leading to a Twitter skirmish between them.
Also in 2010, noted statistician Nassim Taleb called TED a "monstrosity that turns scientists and thinkers into low-level entertainers, like circus performers." He claimed TED curators did not initially post his talk "warning about the financial crisis" on their site on purely cosmetic grounds.
Nick Hanauer spoke at TED University, challenging the popular belief that top income earners in America are the engines of job creation. TED was accused of censoring the talk by not posting it on the website. The National Journal reported Chris Anderson had reacted by saying the talk probably ranked as one of the most politically controversial talks they had ever run, and they needed to be careful about when they posted it. Anderson officially responded, indicating that TED only posts one talk every day, selected from many. Forbes staff writer Bruce Upbin described Hanauer's talk as "shoddy and dumb" while New York magazine condemned the conference's move.
Following a TEDx talk by Rupert Sheldrake, TED issued a statement saying their scientific advisors believed that "there is little evidence for some of Sheldrake's more radical claims" made in the talk and recommended that it "should not be distributed without being framed with caution". The video of the talk was moved from the TEDx YouTube channel to the TED blog accompanied by the framing language called for by the advisors. The move and framing prompted accusations of censorship, to which TED responded by saying the accusations were "simply not true" and that Sheldrake's talk was "up on our website".
TED has also been accused of censoring a presentation by Graham Hancock in which he discussed the effects of legal versus illegal drugs, by removing it from YouTube.
According to Professor Benjamin Bratton at University of California, San Diego, TED Talks' efforts at fostering progress in socio-economics, science, philosophy, and technology have been ineffective. Chris Anderson responded that some critics have a misconception of TED's goals, and failed to recognise that TED aimed to instill excitement in the audience in the same way the speaker felt it. He stated that TED only wishes to bring news of the significance of certain topics to a large audience.
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